Body Image Representations

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The phenomenon of dress and bodily adornment has always been a matter of conflict. It seems that society is constantly trying to repress the notion of aesthetics being a priority in any sense. Generally speaking, we are taught from a young age that looks are not important and we should not use them to make judgements of people. This is then contradicted by the notion of a doting mother always concerned about their child’s appearance, a nervous girl on a first date spending hours attempting to find something to wear, beauty pageants, wearing your best for a job interview even if the job’s uniform consists of a store shirt and khaki pants, and the like. This discord between what we say and how we actually feel creates some problems in the realm of identity. What we wear is a very important part of our process of socialization and since our dress is the medium for how other people view us, there can be problems when we are wearing things that do not represent who we feel our personal self is. In the article The Social Skin by Terence Turner, he discusses and displays the importance of dress and bodily adornments through the Kayapo people. He argues for why this matter is not as trivial as we say it is and that it is, in fact, a serious matter. Dress is not merely clothes and other things we wear, but it is an expression of our identity or how we choose to communicate our personal selves in the arena of society. Though appearance is a concept that we generally look at with a hint of contempt to show how we feel about something so seemingly unimportant and superficial being held in such a place of high priority, we still subscribe to its constant nagging to be noticed. While we are constantly being taught to not judge people based on their looks, we are not often taught to give ourselves a break either. Perhaps since we are taught that looks are so trivial, we do not notice how much it can consume our attention if we let it. Even though the examples that Turner used...
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